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Can my Personal Assistants be self-employed?

There’s a big difference between a personal assistant being self-employed and employed by you.

What does it mean if my personal assistant is self-employed?

A self-employed person works for themselves and often provides support for more than one client.

  • They will run a business as a self-employed person
  • They must send you an invoice for the service and support they provide (insist on this)
  • They will do their own tax and national insurance (NI) deductions
  • They will have their own liability insurance (insist on this)
  • It’s their responsibility to provide any major pieces of equipment they need to do their job
  • They should show you their terms and conditions of services and give you a service contract to sign, including a complaints procedure (insist on this)
  • They should provide someone to cover for them if they are away
  • You will not be expected to contribute to sick pay or holiday pay

In addition, the personal assistant should provide references from people they’ve worked for before and they should have a recent DBS check.

How can I check the status of my personal assistant?

It’s your responsibility to check that your personal assistant is registered as a business for tax.

So that you can be sure, we suggest that you contact the tax office (www.hmrc.gov.uk) and explain the sort of work you want your personal assistant to do.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) should be able to tell you if it is okay for your personal assistant to be self-employed. You can ask them to confirm this in writing.

What about personal assistant paperwork?

You will need to keep copies of the invoices that your personal assistant sends you. If you’re paying for a self-employed personal assistant with your Direct Payment from your local Council, this is part of your Direct Payment monitoring requirements.

My personal assistant only works for me – are they self-employed?

No. Working for only one person clearly indicates that someone is an employee. Ask us here at HomeCareDirect for help with employing your personal assistant.

My personal assistant already has self-employed status. Does this mean that they are self-employed when working for me?

No. Being self-employed in one job does not mean that a personal assistant is necessarily self-employed in another. For example, your personal assistant may be self-employed as a child minder but not in for the work she does for you. Check your personal assistant’s status with HMRC.

My personal assistant is self-employed but I pay them sick pay. Is this correct?

No. Only personal assistants directly employed by you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), pensions, maternity rights etc.

My personal assistant is self-employed do I pay them holiday pay?

No. Only personal assistants directly employed by you are entitled to holiday pay.

Do I provide Employers Liability Insurance and equipment such as gloves, cleaning materials, lifting equipment etc. for my personal assistant?

Having Employers Liability insurance suggests you are the employer and therefore that your personal assistant is not self-employed.

Self-employed personal assistants should fund their own insurance and training. Small pieces of equipment such as gloves and so on are incidental and can be provided by your or the personal assistant. Larger things like lifting equipment should be provided by a self-employed personal assistant.

What could happen if my personal assistant, who I thought was self-employed, goes to an Employment Tribunal claiming I was the employer and that I had dismissed them unfairly?

If a Tribunal rules that you are the employer, you may have to pay the personal assistant for unfair dismissal (up to £58,000). That’s why it’s essential to check the status of your personal assistant.

What could happen if HMRC discovers I have been wrongly paying a personal assistant as self-employed when they should have been directly employed by me?

If Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) judges you to have been the employer, it’s possible that you could be required to pay all the Tax and National Insurance due for the period (as much as 50p for every pound you have paid).

I have a self-employed personal assistant and when they are ill, they get someone to cover their shifts. Is this ok?

If your personal assistant is providing care for you with other assistants, they should be registered with the Care Quality Commission. If they are not registered, they could be acting unlawfully. It is also unlikely that your personal assistants insurance covers a replacement.

Contacting Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

HMRC New Employers Hotline: 0845 607 0143 or the HMRC Self Employment Registration Hotline: 0845 915 4515

You can also visit their website www.hmrc.gov.uk some of the pages that will be of greatest interest to you are www.hmrc.gov.uk/employment-status/index.htm  and www.hmrc.gov.uk/personal assistantye/employees/start-leave/status.htm

The HMRC Employment Status Indicator Tool is a useful way of working out whether your personal assistant should be employed or self-employed; this can be viewed at www.hmrc.gov.uk/calcs/esi.htm

Using self-employed personal assistants can mean there is a lot to think about so here at HomeCareDirect we can act as a third party and employ your chosen personal assistants on your behalf. You’ll still have all the same choice and control yet you won’t have to take on the responsibility (and sometimes the hassles!) of being an employer.

We’ll ensure your personal assistants are employed in a legal manner, taking on the payroll on your behalf, including all employers national insurance, holiday and bank holiday pay, maternity/paternity and sickness pay. On top of this you and your personal assistant team will be fully covered under our employers and public liability insurance.


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